Wednesday as I stood in the hall for the second drug raid of the week in my classroom, I was feeling a bit jaded and annoyed.
But as always a skype night with my bestie put a few things in perspective. The most important thing being that at the end of the day they are just kids. The drugs, the kids having babies, the inappropriate comments or behaviors all are coming from kids. Using that perspective for the rest of the week I started to enjoy my kids a little more and spend a little less time being annoyed when they aren't listening or doing as I asked.
And all this enjoyment lead me to realize one very important fact:
My Students Are Bloggers In the Making
EXAMPLE ONE: Selfies
Bloggers love taking selfies, we need to fill our blog posts with some pictures and whats better than different viewpoints and expressions of our lovely faces.
My classroom computers have webcams built into them and we use them for documenting progress on our build projects and to assist in our writing in how we solved problems. But lets be real for a second put a camera in front of my students face and they will be way too tempted to snap a few
or a billions pics of themselves. And I generally let them until it becomes an issue, who am I to judge.
EXAMPLE TWO: Pictures
Taking pictures and taking selfies are completely different categories, says the 'professional' blogger that is me. I find myself constantly taking
pictures a few dozen pictures at every chance I get just to make sure I have pictures for my blog memories sake. Case in point my iphone could not download the new ios7 update because of the 1000+ pictures I have that I refuse to delete. Reason number eight hundred I upgraded my phone last weekend.
In my classroom this week we were demonstrating our Kicking Machines - a machine they built that could hit or kick a ball into a target accurately - the group that hit the most shots in 60 seconds was deemed the winner. I had a student who was absent the whole week we built so on Monday I wasn't sure what to do with her, I deemed her class photographer passed over the ipad and asked her to take a few action pictures.
She took 252 pictures of four groups kicking machines. Perhaps it was over kill but at least I had some good shots for my
blog class website. And my student aide got stuck with the task of deleting 200 or so Friday.
EXAMPLE THREE: Music
Bloggers love music. Case in point Whitney's #backthatazzup weekly link up and Helene's Songs that Define Me link up.
I put a lot of thought into picking a song of the day each day at school, but sometimes I rely on old favorites like Thursday when I just put on:
My sixth period walks in and one by one they all start saying "I love that song" and proceed to go to their seats singing the lyrics. I couldn't recall when I saw Imagine Dragons and then it dawned on me they opened for AWOLNATION and I mentioned that and opened up a whole can of worms. For the next 15 minutes we discussed music, bands and concerts. Off topic, of course but such a fun way to start a class period.
A few other winners from this week:
EXAMPLE FOUR: Pop Culture
Bloggers try and keep up with pop culture. I learned what twerking was from fellow bloggers. I would never know the ups and downs of Miley's life if it wasn't for bloggers. And who needs People Magazine with bloggers keeping me up to date with pop culture.
My kids life's are embedded with pop culture that completely changes they way the speak. And since I am a teacher there is no way that I could possible understand their language. Little do they know that I have blogging on my side.
Case in point: this week while checking in on groups progress of their Kicking Machines I stopped by a group and the girl responded "I know Miss its pretty ratchet" and her partner responded "she don't know what that means" when I assured them I did, their eyes grew super large and its as if I broke some sort of barrier between student and teachers. I quickly walked away to avoid further confusion.
EXAMPLE FIVE: Opinions
Bloggers have opinions. We wouldn't spend hours a week writing out our opinions, offering advice, commenting on other bloggers, commenting on instagram, tweeting and facebooking if we didn't have opinions and need them to be heard, read and shared.
Students have countless opinions, really more than this blog has room for. But they are also quick to offer comments on other students work, a teachers dream really.
This week we have been testing our Robot Smart Cars on our activity mat in the center of the room. Students have to complete three activities, like racing, parking, etc. In my third period most groups have two activities pretty much perfect and its mostly not due to my help. One group gets their parking right and then they sit there and offer advice and opinions to the other groups as they practice. I never suggested doing this but really it has been amazing to watch. And also funny to hear: "you can't just run over the stop sign" "you're programming needs help" "my robot will destroy your robot" etc.
EXAMPLE SIX: Themes
Bloggers love a good theme. Probably the reason why links up are so popular, give a blogger a theme and you will get post after post about pinterest, working out, what I wore, etc.
In Web Design this week we started creating our calendars, hands down a favorite project, students are using publisher to create a 26 page calendar with a clear theme. I like to go around while they are working and ask them what their theme is just so I am clear that all students are on the right track. All thirty students love their theme because it was something they picked out and were invested in.
I stopped by a male student who never really knows whats going on in class, like ever. And I asked him what his theme was bracing myself for the 'huh' that was sure to follow but instead he turned his head, his eyes lit up and his smile covered his face as he shouted 'snapbacks'.
I could have been holding 10 brand new snapbacks and I don't think I could have brought that much excitement to this kid.
EXAMPLE SEVEN: Tutorials
Bloggers love a good tutorial, probably has something to do with themes and all. I have watched countless of hair tutorials, cooking tutorials and DIY tutorials on blogs to know that those posts are popular and relevant.
In seventh period yesterday when I should have been helping students with their robots I was struck by how cute this girls hair was, another female student (one I have behavior issues with) commented on it as I was walking by. So I asked her how she did it and she stopped and gave both me and the other girl a tutorial. Was it off task, of course but I engaged a student who I don't normally engage and learned hopefully how to do this hairstyle next week, I consider it a win win.
EXAMPLE EIGHT: Spotlights
Bloggers are spotlights: always seeking attention. Maybe I am making a broad statement but the truth is we post on the internet in order to hopefully to gain attention, readers and comments. I am pretty sure no blogger out their is posting and hoping no one reads this post, correct me if I am wrong.
My students are mini spotlights or spotlights in the making. I could go on forever with the different ways both good and bad they seek attention but one story stands out from this week. In sixth period a student with way too much energy broke out into the Carlton dance in the middle of class for absolutely no reason.
The randomness in his actions and the fact that 17 other students turned and just stared at him cracked me up. I was hysterically laughing, I am pretty sure I snorted. Perhaps it wasn't that funny but sometimes students surprise you in the oddest ways.
This post might lead you to believe that most of my week was spent off topic or task in my classroom but we did get a lot accomplished and I am starting to make those connections with students not because we are sharing any deep conversations but because bloggers connect and relate with other bloggers. It's in our blood.
- The Babbling Box!